Originally Posted by choucas
I spent most of the winter on a pair of '06/'07 Mantras. My intention was to use them on soft snow days here on the east coast. We didn't get much hard snow this year, so I just kept skiing them because they were so much fun to ski. I now have a couple of pair of skinnier skis (around 80mm under foot) hanging in my garage that I know I won't ever use again. It's the widest ski I've ever used. I'm not sure that I need anything wider, but then, I have no frame of reference.
So I headed off to Switzerland in March and discovered that most of the Euros (including instructors) are skiing big mountains on short, skinny carvers. I was loving the Mantras while arcing big turns at higher speeds while Fritz and his pals were poking along on their little carvers. Was I missing something? Or were they?
In the US, I do have a problem with posers who have all the wide ski, big mountain gear and never go where they can put it to best use, or aren't capable of skiing it (the ski or the snow & terrain) when they get there. In Switzerland, the tourists stay on the pistes on their short carvers so you don't seem to have the poser issue. Even off piste, the Euros don't go as fat as the US guys do. I spent a week touring in Switzerland and there was next to nothing being used that I would consider wide. Mid 80's under the foot was about as big as it got. None of the guides were using anything that we would consider fat. We skied new, deep, untracked snow for 5 days straight, and I didn't see one pair of fat skis. I also didn't see one pair of Marker Dukes in two weeks of resort and off piste/touring in Europe. It was 90%+ Fritschi with a smattering of Dynafit, Naxo and Silvretta. I'm guessing that the Duke is a US thing only.
Anyway, I don't really care what people ski on. There's no right answer that applies to everyone and there's no reason to dictate to people that they've got it all wrong. It's great to have so many excellent choices. A lot of it, however, is marketing hype and after a while people start to believe their own BS.
I've had much the same experience as you ... bought Volkl Auras (women's Mantras) this season expecting to use them only on deep days, but I ended up really enjoying them in everything but hard bumps. And although I enjoy bumps, I'm over hard
We were in Austria in March, and the first two days we were all on piste due to rain and then avy danger. I saw one pair of Mantras, and everything else was narrow. The third day I did see fatter skis, when we went off piste in Zurs.
But one of the most fun days (and the day I expected to trade out my Auras for something narrower, but overslept and didn't) was the second day, the day after the rain -- because of the exceptional European grooming, the hard refrozen groomed slush was a complete blast on the long and moderately stiff Auras. Did they perform like a race ski? No, I'm sure they didn't ... but they gripped like crazy, and I made huge fast turns all morning. Austrian ski instructor had barked "More turns!" at me the day before, but I ignored him.
As for Dukes etc., this was our helicopter: